Hastings Law Journal


George Lefcoe


This Article makes the case for liberalizing California's restrictive definition of blight, contending that no concept of blight can capture the salient costs and benefits of redevelopment. Present definitions of blight are failing to protect schools and counties from the fiscal drain resulting from the widespread use of tax increment financing to support redevelopment. Definitions of blight are also tangential to the underlying policy debate over whether local governments should take an active hand in shaping the urban environment by becoming land developers. This Article examines two recent cases striking down redevelopment projects for not meeting California's stringent blight standards enacted in 1993, and questions whether those decisions, though appropriate interpretations of the statute, resulted in sound urban policy. In the end, Professor Lefcoe recommends that the "blight" statute should be re-formulated and local governments allowed to use redevelopment to achieve a broad array of state mandated planning goals.

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